Tom Hanks is no Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise; he lacks the physical attractiveness that has catapulted those two stars (and most of the other actors in Hollywood) to fame. Instead, Hanks is just the guy next door, somebody you’d really like to sit down and have a beer with. For more than twenty years, Hanks has enraptured audiences across America and the world (especially now that satellite TV has gone international). Here is a short list of his five best movies-keep in mind that his full resume is much more broad.
Forrest Gump: An American classic, Forrest Gump tells the story of a mentally retarded man’s epic life. It’s a tale of perseverance and grit. Somehow Forrest finds himself in the middle of every major event of the latter half of the 20th century: whether he’s meeting Elvis or saving his entire platoon during a battle in Vietnam, Mr. Gump is a true testament to the idea that nothing is impossible. This movie is highly recommended.
Saving Private Ryan: Set alongside a young Matt Damon, Hanks plays a company commander tasked with finding a soldier behind enemy lines in post D-Day France. This is no small task, with Germans chasing them at every step of the way. The action scene at the beginning of the movie is considered to be one of the best-produced ever; suffice it to say that an HD television is absolutely necessary.
Apollo 13: It’s safe to say that before this movie was made, the majority of Americans didn’t know that the Apollo space program went past number 11. An admitted space nerd, Hanks was thrilled to be cast as the commander of this mission to the moon. Things quickly go awry, however, and the astronauts must suddenly ditch their objectives in an effort just to stay alive. If you’re into science (or history, for that matter), Apollo 13 is a film you definitely don’t want to miss.
Philadelphia: Cast as a gay attorney infected with AIDS, Hanks excels in this powerful film. Indeed, he’s given some credit in the opening up of AIDS as a national dialogue, whereas before it had been taboo. The performance that he gives is heart-wrenching, and could well be his best.
You’ve Got Mail: A chick-flick if ever there was one, Hanks plays a bookstore mogul who (unknowingly) gets involved with the owner of a private indie bookstore. The two begin exchanging love letters anonymously, only to find out their respective identities later in the film. Hanks is a riot, and he’s complimented well by his co-star Meg Ryan. You’ve Got Mail is a great movie to catch on satellite TV one night with your spouse or significant other.
Tom Hanks is an American icon-if he played sports, he’d be bigger than Babe Ruth. You should head out to your local movie store post-haste to rent each of the movies on these list. Pop them into your HD set, and get ready for a fun evening of great acting.